New Delhi: The UNICEF on Friday (May 7, 2021) expressed that it is very concerned about the deadly daily surge in new COVID-19 cases in India and said that this wave is almost four times the size of the first wave.
The UNICEF’s statement came on a day when India witnessed over 4 lakh new coronavirus infections for the second consecutive day.
“UNICEF is very concerned about this deadly daily surge in new cases. This wave is almost four times the size of the first wave and the virus is spreading much faster. With the surge in cases, the virus is also affecting more people across age groups including children and infants,” said UNICEF representative Dr Yasmin Ali Haque.
He added, “What is happening in India should raise alarm bells for all of us. The pandemic is far from over. COVID-19 cases are rising at an alarming rate across South Asia.”
Haque stated that the entire health systems could collapse, leading to more tragic loss of life and said that very low levels of vaccination in most South Asian countries (less than 10% in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal) is adding to concern of the virus spiraling even further.
“Besides South Asia, we are also seeing alarming situations in other parts of the world,” he said.
The UNICEF representative also said that along with the increase in COVID-19 cases, the impact on children being affected by the virus has also increased.
“This surge is having dire consequences for children whose access to essential health, social, protection and education services is being constrained… Children are facing mental health issues and are at greater risk of violence, as lockdowns shut them off from their vital support networks,” Haque said.
“With half of the children under five in India being malnourished, the present COVID-19 crisis could further impact child nutrition and service delivery across the country,” Haque added.
He highlighted that the UNICEF has sent critical lifesaving supplies to support India at this difficult time.
“We have 3,000 oxygen concentrators, testing kits and other critical equipment in place. We’ve sent additional critical lifesaving supplies to India, including 2 million face shields and 200,000 surgical masks. Additionally, 2000 more oxygen concentrators will arrive by the second half of May with another 2650 being procured. We support the regular monitoring of more than 50,000 COVID vaccination centres across 27 states of India,” Dr Yasmin Ali Haque said.